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    Blog — sewing machine

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    My trip to sew in Devon

    About 18 months ago I received an exciting email – would I like to come and teach a freehand embroidery course in Italy….? Ask a silly question! But after much tooing and froing we realized that getting ten ancient Singer sewing machines, not to mention tubs of fabric, lamps, scissors, thread, hoops and inspiration to Italy might be a bit too much of a challenge – even for me! middle coombe farm the sewing course venue So we settled on something a little closer to home and last month, just before the clocks changed and as the sun was setting over misty autumn trees, I found myself with a heavily loaded van, turning into a lane with grass growing up through the middle in deepest, darkest Devon. ladies on poppy treffry sewing course Middle Coombe Farm was a beautiful setting for a stitching retreat. The machines were set up in the old thatched cider barn, hung with Tibetan prayer flags and the participants stayed in various ancient rooms through the farm and the grand old farmhouse. stitching students made on poppy treffry sewing course We spent the whole weekend together, stitching, chatting, cosying up by the fire in the oak paneled sitting room, eating wonderful food that was all cooked and prepared for us in the farmhouse kitchen and setting the world to rights. It was an honor to hang out with such wonderful ladies for the weekend and I was so proud of their finished products. embroidery hoop on poppy treffry sewing course And of course we mustn’t forget the indefatigable Mari from Made on Holiday who arranged the whole thing (and convinced me to do it!). She is the most wonderful warm, Italian, non cooking, non sewing mama, she looked after us so well, if anyone could convince me to do it again she could….but we’ll see! freehand machine embroidery examples

    Just Horsin' Around!

    We love our tea towel designs - you seem to love our tea towel designs as well! Poppy has been a very busy (sewing) bee these last few months.  She's designed lots of new gorgeous tea towels including the new 'Pony Club' especially for Anthropology UK. Pony Club tea towel by Poppy Treffry   Ponies and horses aren't the easiest subject to sketch, and this design took Poppy a little while to perfect but we all think she did a pretty good job! [gallery ids="|"] A tea towel design starts with a sketch in one of Poppy's many sketch books, then Poppy will cut the individual pieces from fabric (usually fine, vintage or found pieces she has hidden away in the studio) and then she'll sit at her trusty old Singer sewing machine and freehand machine embroider the pieces to a tea towel-sized piece of cotton.  This will then get sent away to the local screen printing company for them to print.  We think you'll agree this is another pretty, individual design from the brain of Poppy Treffry. To see all of our tea towels, pop along to our website and for our exclusive Anthropologie UK designs check out their website. TTFN, Team Treffry. x

    Choosing a sewing machine - good luck!

    One of the questions we get asked the most is 'how do I choose a sewing machine?' We don't profess to be experts on this - we use very old, very nice 1930s Singer sewing machines which do just what we want (most of the time!), but they're not high tech and weren't the result of a lot of research. There's a quote from Poppy in our little film for the Eden project where she says 'you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a good one' and that is certainly true of the way we work.  Our machines have come from car boots, the dump, charity shops and the odd sewing machine shop (oh yes and ebay).  Quite often chosen because they’re pretty! We have about 13 of them in our studio at the last count!One of our beauties in the studio we use on a daily basis - and nothing else! Deciding on what machine to go for largely depends on what you want to do with your machine.....Do you want to just do a bit of dressmaking with an array of fancy stitches?  Some serious upholstery projects?  Or just have a play with freehand machine embroidery?

    • If you're after something to see you through some really tough fabric, then a 'flatbed' machine is probably best - these are bigger, more industrial-type machines that take up more room but will serve you well when it comes to making curtains and other bigger projects.
     
    • Most modern machines will have a selection of decorative and functional stitches, some digital sewing machines will even do the sewing for you - you don't even need to put your foot on the pedal!  Modern machines are great but we have found that a few people who own a new machine have said they are very light weight, even 'throw away' quality.  We think it depends how much you will be using your machine.  If it's just for the occasional small sewing job, these would be fine.
     
    • If it's the freehand machine embroidery you want to have a go at, then most machines old and new will have the ability to do this - it just takes a little practice to get used to the technique.
    [gallery type="circle" size="medium" ids="|"] Your best bet to start with is your local sewing shop as they will have a wealth of experience on the subject, although be clear on your budget before you go in and don’t let yourself be seduced by the array of possibilities! It’s a good idea to write a list of what you want the machine to do first and then you’’ll know whether those extra features are of value to you or not. Experience says you should look for a machine that is metal rather than plastic and quite heavy and sturdy. Our machines have a little screw on the undercarriage which allows you to drop the feed dogs and then we hold our fabric stretched tight in an embroidery hoop but if you can’t find one which does this then you can purchase a metal plate that covers the feed dogs whilst you're sewing. We don’t use an embroidery foot when we’re stitching but again this is something you may have to experiment with for yourself, kissing frogs again!Our Freya who makes all our lovely badges.  Once you have your sewing machine you’ll find most bunching-up and bobbin-snarling issues are down to tension of the cloth, the machine and you! So you just need to play with it, and relax, till you get it right. We hope you don't have to kiss too many frogs!

    We're not at Country Living this Christmas, want to see our new catalogue instead?

     

     
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    You won't find us at the Country Living Christmas Fair this year, with our studio and our shop so busy we needed all hands on deck at the studio. We're going to miss it, especially that lovely smell of Christmas, we'll have to make do with sniffing our 'Christmas every day' soap instead! We've set our cute catalogue up so that you can now view it online, you can enjoy our range without fighting through the crowds, maybe with a cup of tea and a custard cream! Download the catalogue here. And look out for our one off special on cosy cushions next Monday, 17th November, 20% off our cushion range all day, just in time for you know what! Thanks for reading our newsletter.
     
    smells like Christmas
     
    back in stock
     
    check out our latest sewing project on the blog
     
    p…p…p…pick up a penguin
     

    Christmas decorations

    wooden-decoration-group We're super excited to launch Poppy Treffry Christmas decorations this year, something we've thought about for ages but never quite managed. And then, like waiting for a bus - 2 collections come at once! wooden-decoration-dachshund Our fabric decorations are handmade to order by the team (usually Poppy) and were inspired by a few one off Christmas decoration purchases Poppy made last year, unique beautiful things to keep safe all year and to treasure bringing out at Christmas. fabric-decoration-donkey And our wooden decorations are made for us by a lovely company in Devon using sustainable wood veneer and printing from our original embroideries. boxed-donkey-christmas-deco All decorations are individually gift boxed making them a pretty cute gift too, we think the wooden decorations might just be perfect for the office secret santa this year. We hope you like them too x